Sunday, February 25, 2018

On the way home

We’re climbing past 7,000 meters, I have my headphones in listening to Rob Has a Podcast as we head out of South Korea toward Toronto.
Looking at the map on the screen in front of me, it makes me realize I am a long way from home and I have been a long way from home for a long time. This is obviously the second time I’ve been away for that long, coming after Sochi four years ago.
So, officially, as this gets posted, South Korea is in the rearview mirror and I’m either on my way home or already home when I post this.
There were a lot of things in PyeongChang that were different than Sochi four years ago, many of them good. As I fly away, I wanted to reflect on a few of those things.
One of the biggest differences was in my accommodations. In Sochi, I stayed in what was essentially a hotel, with a bed and a bathroom to myself. This time around, the accommodations were a bit different and it wasn’t really a bad thing.
Looking to make the trip as least expensive as possible, I booked a room in a three-bedroom apartment in the Gangneung Media Village. This meant that I was sharing an apartment with two other guys and was sharing a bathroom with one of them. I was a little concerned about this, because not knowing who I was rooming with made me nervous. When I checked in the first Friday night, there was nobody else there. I headed out to find the media work room and when I returned, I met one of my roommates. His name is Jeff Cable and he is a photographer from California who works for USA Hockey, taking pictures of the men’s and women’s hockey team.
It took me a while to meet the other guy in the apartment. His name is Ken and he worked at the sliding center mostly, running a blog on the sliding sports. However, back in the United States, he is also the track photographer for Martinsville Speedway.
They were both nice guys and made the accommodation situation easy. Like me, they were both pretty busy so there were very few times when we were all in the apartment at the same time.
Another good difference in South Korea had to be the distances to the venues, which was significantly shorter than in Sochi. While there were a few long bus rides, getting to and from locations took a lot less time, which meant that I actually wrote less on the bus than I did four years ago.
Perhaps the best different was the internet situation. I was able to do work from pretty much anywhere in PyeongChang, be it on the bus, in the Main Press Center or outdoors at the venues. I think my Instagram photos from all over the Olympics probably showed that, as I was able to post photos from pretty much everywhere. In Russia, it was pretty tough to get access to the internet, even sitting in the media center with the Ethernet cable plugged in.
Korea is officially in the rearview mirror and leaving is disappointing, but all good things must come to an end.

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